News and Facts about Cuba

Cuba establishes banking relationship in US, furthering ties

Cuba establishes banking relationship in US, furthering ties
BY BRADLEY KLAPPER
Associated Press

Cuba has established a banking relationship in the U.S., clearing
another major obstacle to the countries re-establishing diplomatic
relations, a senior State Department official said Tuesday.

The official refused to identify the bank, though news reports had
suggested Cuba was negotiating with a Florida-based financial
institution. The Cuban government will make an announcement soon, said
the U.S. official, who wasn’t authorized to be quoted by name and
briefed reporters anonymously.

There was no immediate response from Cuba’s government.

Securing banking operations was among Cuba’s biggest demands as
diplomats try to make good on the promises of Presidents Barack Obama
and to restore embassies in Washington and Havana after a
half-century interruption. Without an account, the Cuban Interests
Section in Washington has been forced to pay bills and salaries with
cash, often resorting to hauling in money from Cuba to maintain operations.

Another major hurdle to rapprochement, the U.S. designation of Cuba as a
state sponsor of terrorism, expires May 29.

Senior American and Cuban officials will gather again this week in
Washington to canvass the remaining differences between the former Cold
War enemies.

The Obama administration is trying to secure guarantees that its
diplomats can wherever they want on the island and meet whomever
they please, even if that includes dissidents and others the Cuban
government accuses of trying to bring down its socialist system.

Cuba says a full “normalization” of relations must include an end to the
U.S. economic and the closing of the U.S. naval base at
Guantanamo Bay — two matters U.S. officials say aren’t on their
immediate agenda. Obama has significantly loosened the embargo in recent
months, but only Congress has the power to revoke it entirely.

Another issue to surface recently is the U.S. training of Cuban
journalists, which Castro recently called an “” infringement on
Cuba’s sovereignty.

The senior State Department official stressed that the U.S. runs
democracy programs in “restrictive environments” around the world, and
that those in Cuba are designed to best serve the Cuban people. The
training of journalists is done both inside and outside of the country
by journalism professors and others experienced in the field.

The official, however, left open the idea of such programs changing in
future as Cuba further opens up.

The official provided no date for an expected completion of negotiations
and announcement on restoring embassies.

Source: Cuba establishes banking relationship in US, furthering ties |
Miami Herald Miami Herald –
http://www.miamiherald.com/news/article21408378.html

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